By Bimbola Oyesola
Nigerians may have to go through another harrowing fuel crisis as members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch of NUPENG yesterday threatened to withdraw their services in the next 14 days.
The Tanker drivers at the end of their Branch executive council meeting held in Ibadan warned that should the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), their Employers body fails to negotiate the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for new working conditions for the Petroleum Tanker Drivers they would withdraw their services.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by the Chairman Salmon Akanni Oladiti, the union said, “the branch will no longer be able to guarantee the continued service of our members in the petroleum products distribution across the country if a new conditions of service for Petroleum Tanker Drivers is not provided for in the next fourteen days with effect from today 27th day of March.”
The PTD members of NUPENG said they noted with deep pains that the expiring collective bargaining agreement has been in operation for the past six years even when the country has been experiencing spiral inflationary trend that is further complicated by destructive powers of COVID 19 Pandemic.
“The council in session expressed deep worries that Petroleum Tanker Drivers have been going through harrowing financial situations even while rendering selfless national services, to ensure delivery of Petroleum products to homes and factories in every nook and crannies of this country, day and nights, in good and bad weather and on highly deplorable highways,” the communique read.
In the same vein, the chairman said the union has resolved to direct all its members to withdraw their services if installation of Safety valve is not made mandatory in all petroleum trucks with effect from 1st of May 2021, in view of the fact that members of the union are usually the first casualties in any situation of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks.
Oladiti stated that the Branch Executive Council discussed with sadness, pains and deep worries, the increasing rate of fire incidences involving petroleum trucks with accompanying massive destruction of lives and properties of the members and general public.
He said: “The Council in session noted with deep concerns the government’s dilly dallying attitude towards the enforcement of the compulsory installation of Safety Valves in all Petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of these trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.
“The council in session expressed disappointment over the failure of the Federal Government to live up to its various commitments with various stakeholders in several meetings called by the government on the same matter.”
He expressed that the insensitive government officials and unscrupulous businessmen will no longer be allowed to keep destroying the lives of the union’s members and innocent general public, stressing that these fire accidents are becoming too many but definitely avoidable.
“It is in the well informed opinion of the council in session that these safety valves if installed will go a long way in reducing the rate of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks and therefore save precious lives and properties,” he said.
He however said that the union is not unmindful of the pains and discomforts its decisions and intending actions will have on the general public, but stated that these are hard and difficult decisions the union must take for the sake of its members and even the general public.